Spaghetti Squash: Our New Noodle

I think I’m one of the last people to know anything about the squash family in general, spaghetti squash being the newest addition in my diet.  During all of my low carb/no carb diets not one single person said “hey, do you  want to know a great substitute for noodles?” Not one!  I’ve sadly lamented the delicious sauces that are lost to the bottom of my bowl with nothing to sop them up with many a meal.  I’ve eaten meals over salad greens in an attempt to have something to catch the juices and gravy’s, but it wasn’t near the same as hot noodles.  Do you want to make a guess where I’m going with this spaghetti squash thing?  If you have ever seen or eaten a squash before, the names don’t always portray the food.  Goose-neck or yellow squash do NOT taste like goose-necks(I’m guessing).  Butternut squash while maybe nut-colored doesn’t really taste “buttery” to me…creamy possibly if cooked long enough but not buttery.  Most squashes I am familiar with (and that’s a whopping 3 different kinds) are either potato – like when cooked or well…squishy.  Spaghetti squash looks a bit like the inside of a pumpkin after you use all your muscle strength to cut it in half.  Stringy goop with seeds in a hollow spot inside.  Other than that, it’s just yellow. I’m not kidding about the muscle behind cutting this squash up, or the butternut…be careful, it take good leverage and a sharp knife!  But if you bake that oversized football for an hour at 400°F you get this:  That’s right people – a stringy, fibrous, crunchy noodle shaped bit of vegetable matter. Slightly larger than an American football, light yellow to bright yellow in color, one cup of this vegetable goodness is only 42 calories and full of vitamins like folic acid and beta carotene.  There isn’t too much flavor to speak of but the sauce-sopping power is off the charts!  There is a texture difference of course from actual noodles, this being full of fiber gives it more of a crunch than a squish, but if you add in the low calories and fullness you’ll feel from the fiber, this is a WIN!  Cook this up and serve it under any dish that calls for a noodle or rice bed to add some volume and nobody will leave the table hungry.  I’m not saying that I will never eat a noodle or rice again, but clearly, substituting for a spaghetti squash more of the time will certainly help me keep my waistline where I want it.  Personally, after being on so many different no carb/low carb diets, I have almost stopped eating bread and noodles altogether and only miss them when I’m  looking at a sad puddle of sauce at the bottom of my bowl.  I will be sad no longer….as long as spaghetti squash are in season.  Dukan Diet worthy on protein + vegetable days, phase 2 and higher.  Eat up!

*Specific instructions: Cut spaghetti squash in half length-wise and scoop out the guts (seeds, slimy stringy goop).  Bake in the oven at 400°F, brush the flesh with olive oil, and bake cut side up, for 1 hour.  Once cool enough to handle, take a fork and scrape with the tines the flesh of the squash.  The fibers will come loose easily and you can keep scraping until all that is left is a thin rind.  Refrigerate once cool and it will keep for a week.  One spaghetti squash will make about 6-8 cups of volume so one is usually more than enough for dinner + leftovers.

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